David Fletcher


David Fletcher

Call 1971 (Gray’s Inn)
Qualifications MA (Cantab), Scholar of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, Lord Justice Hankey Scholar of Gray’s Inn, Lecturer in Public & Administrative Law, Bristol University 1967-1972
Professional Memberships Chancery Bar Association, Planning & Environmental Bar Association (PEBA)

Expertise


David has, over the years, been extensively engaged in a wide range of important Judicial Review cases, notably in housing, discrimination and planning.  A number of these have reached the House of Lords (now Supreme Court) and Court of Appeal.  He lectured on Administrative Law at Bristol University for some years prior to commencing practice at the Bar.

In 2010 David was engaged in a series of important Judicial Review and Information Tribunal cases concerning the obligations of planning authorities regarding disclosure of commercially sensitive information.

Recently David was engaged by claimants in one of the five high-profile Judicial Review cases heard jointly in December 2012 seeking to review the Government’s decision to proceed with the High Speed train (HS2) on the basis of failure to carry out meaningful consultation (see R (Buckinghamshire CC and others) v Secretary of State for Transport and HS2 Ltd [2012] EWHC 3739 (Admin).  He has also recently acted for one of the local authorities involved in a multi-party Judicial Review dispute (recently the subject of a landmark Supreme Court ruling) over the interpretation of legislation concerning care for the disabled and resolved successfully in favour of the local authority for which David acted (R (Cornwall County Council) v Secretary of State for Health and Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire and Somerset Councils [2015] UKSC 46 (Admin)).  He regularly advises on and litigates Judicial Review disputes concerning care home fees.

David also lectures on Judicial Review and on funding for the disabled and the Care Act 2014.

Seminars

Recommendations

  • “Highly experienced in judicial reviews” Legal 500, Public Law (2017)
  • “David is recommended for judicial reviews and injunctions.” Legal 500, Public law (2016)

 

David has been heavily engaged over the last five years in a series of complex, high-value and successful Mercantile Court derivative actions for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and professional negligence relating to property development.  These actions have involved complex issues of law as to limitation, breach of duty and damages, and have resulted in the award of large sums of damages (see Chalcraft v Rivercraft Developments LLP & Rivers [2013] EWHC 1510 (QB)).

In addition David has recently pursued successfully a major and complex Chancery inheritance dispute, a number of substantial construction disputes, and a Queens Bench action for conspiracy in local government.  He has also acted for the National Taxi Association in an dispute with First Great Western over the interpretation of taxi and railway byelaws and the legality of FGW’s recently introduced taxi permit scheme (see Jones (on behalf of National Taxi Association) v First Greater Western [2013] EWCA Civ 301.

Currently David is engaged in a substantial and complex chancery case on behalf of an international pension scheme to recover misappropriated assets and for rectification of the shares register.

David’s experience in recent years includes dealership and franchising disputes, restraint of trade including claims to enforce covenants against employees, and a wide range of other commercial and chancery matters.

David has considerable experience of claims for breach of fiduciary duty and shareholder disputes.  He has successfully pursued in recent years a series of derivative actions in the Mercantile Court, involving issues concerning reflective loss and the extent and nature of fiduciary duties.  For details see under ‘Commercial Dispute Resolution’.

In recent years David has been and still is heavily involved in a series of complex long-running actions on behalf of a pension scheme for rectification of a shares register and to recover assets allegedly misappropriated by the beneficiaries of the scheme.

David has conducted a number of educational negligence cases against local authorities, in accordance with the ruling of the House of Lords in Phelps v Hillingdon.  One of these cases was taken to the Court of Appeal and lays down important principles in relation to the law of educational negligence (Clarke v Devon County Council [2005] EWCA Civ 266).

David has also conducted and advised upon cases of special educational need (SENDIST and Judicial Review).

Seminars

David has a substantial and varied employment law practice, acting for both employers (including public and local authorities) and employees, and dealing particularly with major and complex cases.  His practice includes appearances in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal in unfair dismissal discrimination, whistle-blowing and TUPE-related cases, and also in the High Court and County Court in wrongful dismissal cases and employment-related contractual disputes, shareholder disputes and restraint of trade cases.  He also advises on issues relating to the employment and dismissal of officers of local authorities.

Recent cases

David’s recent experience includes a six-week trial of a group action in the Employment Tribunal in which he appeared successfully for a major employer accused of victimising its workforce following whistle-blowing about alleged corrupt tendering.  He also recently successfully defended a substantial sex discrimination and unfair dismissal claim on behalf of a major public body.

David has appeared in the House of Lords in two discrimination cases:  Hallam v Avery [2000] 1 WLR 966 in which he appeared successfully for the Gloucestershire Police Authority.  In 2005 he conducted a major trial of a discrimination cases concerning the management of care homes.

He has appeared in a number of complex constructive dismissal cases including claims of breach of the implied term of trust and confidence, and he lectured on this topic to the Law Society and to European lawyers in 2006.

Seminars

David has a substantial practice in Planning and Local Government law, Licensing, Judicial Review, Housing and Discrimination law.

His practice includes housing appeals and he regularly advises local authorities on housing issues.

See further details under Administrative Law / Judicial Review and Planning.

Recommendations

  • “David is noted for his experience in judicial reviews concerning housing, discrimination and planning.” Legal 500, Public Law (2014)

David has undertaken major taxi inquiries.  See also the important ruling of the Court of Appeal on taxi licensing in  NTA v FGW 2013 – see under ‘Commercial Dispute Resolution’.

He also lectures on licensing appeals.

Major inquiries and cases undertaken:

  • Taxi licensing inquiries, Plymouth
  • ‘Walkabout’ licensing appeal, Bournemouth
  • Major Chancery dispute over Bristol taxi drivers’ rights of alleged free access to Temple Meads stands (2014)

David’s practice includes partnership disputes of all kinds.  He has particular experience in relation to LLPs and derivative actions by members of LLPs.

See further under Commercial Dispute Resolution.

David has a substantial practice in Planning and Local Government law, Licensing, Judicial Review, Housing and Discrimination law.  Over the years he has been engaged in a number of leading reported judicial review cases in the House of Lords, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal on behalf of public authorities in the fields of Planning, Housing and Discrimination law, including a series of High Court challenges to local plans (see Small v North Somerset Council [2008] EWHC 2982 (Admin)) and (Jones v North Somerset Council.)

In 2010 David was instructed in an important case in the Information Tribunal which defined the scope of planning authorities’ obligation to make public confidential information received from developers under the Environmental Information Regulations (see Bristol CC v Information Commissioner and Portland & Brunswick Square Association EA/2010/0012 (2010)).

David has in recent years been instructed in a series of major housing development inquiries involving disputed locational policy issues.  He has been extensively engaged in recent years in high profile gypsy / traveller cases both in the High Court (on injunction applications) and at planning inquiries, including the Minety Gypsy Inquiry in Nash, Wiltshire.

Recently David acted for the claimants in one of five high-profile Judicial Review cases heard jointly in December 2012 seeking to review the Government’s decision to proceed with the High Speed train (HS2) on the basis of failure to carry out meaningful consultation (see R (Buckinghamshire CC & others) v Secretary of State for Transport and HS2 Ltd [2013] EWHC 481 (Admin)).

He lectures on planning and public law topics to local authorities and for local government training purposes.

  • Statutory appeals to High Court and Judicial Review of Planning, Education and other Local Authority decisions.
  • Advising on and/or attending Public Inquiries in relation to Residential, Commercial and Leisure Developments and Gypsy Inquiries.
  • Applications for Planning Injunctions on behalf of Local Authorities including gypsy / traveller cases.
  • Listed Building / Conservation Area appeals.
  • Enforcement Notice appeals.
  • Human Rights cases.
  • Local Plan inquiries.
  • Highway and Rights of Way inquiries.
  • Housing appeals and Housing Judicial Review.
  • Environmental Health prosecutions.
  • Educational needs statutory appeals and educational negligence.
  • Licensing appeals, including taxi licensing and liquor licensing

Major inquiries and cases undertaken:

Housing:

  • Tetbury, Lechlade, Cotswold CC
  • Nailsea, Wrington, Winscombe, East of Failand (2010) North Somerset
  • Tiverton, Mid Devon CC
  • Tewkesbury
  • Norton St Philip, Mendip CC
  • Wootton Bassett, North Wiltshire DC
  • W.Alvington Appeal South Hams District Council (2014)
  • Wincanton Hospital and Dancing Lane Inquiries (South Somerset DC) (2015)
  • Congresbury, North Somerset (2015)

Retail:

  • Superstore inquiry, Cornwall
  • Fast food outlet inquiry, Restormel BC
  • Stroud supermarket appeals advice (2015)

Local Plan inquiries:

  • Forest of Dean DC
  • Taunton Deane BC
  • West Wiltshire DC

Commercial and major urban redevelopment:

  • Dock redevelopment scheme, Portbury, Bristol
  • Gloucester Quays redevelopment inquiry (2005)

High Court injunctions and gypsy / traveller inquiries:

  • Minety Gypsy inquiry, North Wiltshire DC (2005)
  • North Somerset gypsy inquiries (Moor Lane) (2005-2006)
  • East Devon gypsy inquiry

Judicial Review:

  • Application to quash Secretary of State’s order staying implementation of Forest of Dean Local Plan (2005)
  • Application to quash North Somerset Local Plan (2008)
  • Application to quash grant of Listed Building and Conservation Area consent re Lakota Club (2005-2010)
  • Application to review Secretary of State for Transport’s decision to proceed with High Speed Train (HS2) (2012/13)

Highway inquiries:

  • Village bypass, Wiltshire
  • Road closure order, Cheltenham ring road inquiry
  • Town bypass inquiry, Blackwood, South Wales
  • Right of way inquiry, Dorset

Seminars

Recommendations

  • “Really helpful.” ”He can grasp difficult questions with great skill” Chambers UK 2018, Planning
  • “Highly recommended for planning matters” Legal 500, Construction, planning and environment (2017)
  • “David is experienced in planning appeals.” Legal 500, Construction, planning and environment (2016)

David conducts claims for professional negligence in his principal areas of practice. His experience includes claims against solicitors, surveyors, engineers, accountants, architects, planning officers, educational psychologists and teachers (see under ‘Commercial Dispute Resolution’:  Chalcraft).

Seminars

David’s practice includes all kinds of property disputes, including rights of way, boundaries, restrictive covenants (including applications to the Lands Tribunal), property subsidence claims, and cases of proprietary estoppel / constructive trust.

For further details, see ‘Commercial Dispute Resolution’.

Practice Overview

David has been heavily engaged in recent years in a range of complex, long-running and high-value commercial and chancery disputes in the Mercantile and Chancery Courts.  Notably, he has successfully masterminded a series of derivative actions for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and professional negligence in property development (see Chalcraft v Rivercraft Developments LLP & Rivers [2013] EWHC 1510 (QB)).  In addition, his caseload has included major inheritance claims, construction disputes, claims for conspiracy in local government, a dispute over the interpretation of the taxi byelaws in relation to First Great Western’s charging scheme (see Jones (on behalf of National Taxi Association) v First Greater Western Ltd [2013] EWHC 1485 (CH)) and a major ongoing chancery case in which he acts on behalf of an international pension scheme seeking to recover pension assets. Many of these cases have been pursued in the appellate courts, involving complex issues of law.

As an equally important area of practice, David is a Judicial Review specialist, having during his academic career lectured in Administrative Law.  He has an impressive track record of high-profile appellate decisions on Judicial Review issues ranging over all areas of local government law, planning, licensing, housing and discrimination.  Several of his cases have reached the House of Lords and Supreme Court.  He acted for one of the claimants in the high-profile series of High Speed Train Judicial Review cases heard jointly in December 2012 (see R (Buckinghamshire County Council & others) v Secretary of State for Transport & HS2 Ltd [2013] EWHC 481).  He was recently engaged in an important multi-party Judicial Review involving a number of local authorities concerning financial responsibility in respect of care for the disabled (R (Cornwall CC) v Secretary of State for Health and Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire and Somerset Councils [2015] UKSC 46.  This case was recently the subject of a landmark Supreme Court ruling which resolves important issues as to the allocation of responsibility between local authorities for providing care for the disabled.  He is regularly engaged by local authorities in Judicial Review cases of all kinds.

In conjunction with his Judicial Review practice, which includes a large element of planning Judicial Review, David also has a successful major planning practice, particularly in respect of major housing and supermarket developments, conducting planning inquiries and advising local authorities on planning matters generally.

David is qualified to undertake public access work in appropriate cases, for further information, please visit our Public Access page.

Recommendations

  • “Really helpful.” ”He can grasp difficult questions with great skill” Chambers UK 2018, Planning
  • “Highly experienced in judicial reviews” Legal 500, Public Law (2017)
  • “Highly recommended for planning matters” Legal 500, Construction, planning and environment (2017)
  • “David is experienced in planning appeals.” Legal 500, Construction, planning and environment (2016)
  • “David is recommended for judicial reviews and injunctions.” Legal 500, Public law (2016)
  •  “St John’s Chambers is regularly instructed in cases concerning the acts or omissions of public bodies, and attracts work from companies, individuals and local authorities. David Fletcher has a focus on the legal issues concerning funding for the disabled.” Legal 500, Public Law (2015)
  • “David is an efficient and careful advocate who has a very good client manner.” Legal 500, Public law (2015)
  • “David’s practice includes partnership and company disputes, and commercial franchising cases.” Legal 500, Construction, Planning and Environment (2015)